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The Origin Story of Healthy Core: Overcoming Obstacles in Pelvic Health

"I have a dream!" In 2009, I left a stable hospital position to follow a dream; an ideal where there would be a space for women to heal and recover from pregnancy, childbirth, surgeries and issues related to the pelvic girdle. I was frustrated with the growing need of women who did not know conservative, hands-on care was available and had no other option than surgery or life-long medication to cover up pain and dysfunction.

At the time, my children were 3, 7 and 10 and I was lacking work-life balance with a firefighter husband who worked 24 hours at a time with a rotating three-week work schedule. I had frequent headaches, chronic hip and back pain (souvenirs of pregnancy and childhood injuries) that I was unable to get help for, even in the large hospital system I was working in. I saw one private practice PT who helped me with my pelvis and another who helped me with my neck pain and chronic headaches with hands-on treatment. I was frustrated that as a PT, I should be able to help myself. I realized my own limitations, the limitations of the hospital system and the value of hands-on help. I could not see which part of my pelvis was out of alignment and I needed help. As a physical therapist I had difficulty finding someone who could help me, even with all the resources I had available. How much more difficult is it for a woman outside of my profession to find the help she needs? What made matters worse, my job as a manual therapist contributed to further pain and dysfunction as I helped other women heal from their dysfunctions. My frustration continued as the hospital system did not allow me to treat individuals the way I believed they needed to be treated. I knew there was more to pelvic floor therapy than doing Kegels and I knew that treating the entire pelvic girdle was required to heal the person from their tight pelvic floor along with hip and back issues that coexisted. Adding to my frustration was the high cost of patient treatment (sometimes exceeding $400 for a one hour appointment), the lack of internet presence (no one could find me) and multiple ideas for growth and improvement being snuffed. After meeting for about a year with the hospital's postpartum staff and birth educator to develop a plan for new moms to get an in-hospital visit, the hospital decided not to fund a therapist visiting postpartum moms bedside. Money was valued over service and care even with the hospital's tagline "patients first". I no longer wanted to work in a fruitless environment that increased my pain and added stress to my young family. After great discernment and serious discussions with my husband, I decided to take the plunge and follow a burning passion in my heart to create a space to help women get help. I started with a pad and paper.

The morning after I turned in my resignation, I prayed and brainstormed over the name for the business. I wrote the name “Healthy Core” on the last line of my ruled paper. What I didn’t realize at the time was the name and logo would keep me inspired during the difficult months and years ahead. When our graphic designer sent us a few proofs of the logo, it was evident that the “T” in “healThy” stood out as a cross and separated the name into Heal Thy Core. One of my patients soon helped me realized that our tagline, "healthy women = healthy families" really was "heal thy women, heal thy family." Later I learned that "core" translated in Latin is "heart" and that heal thy core really means, "heal thy heart." There was something greater here than me; I just had to be open to the possibility of a better life for me and my patients.

Healthy Core was born out of this discernment and frustration of having nowhere to get help. I took a leap of faith, which took courage. I started a business right after a financial collapse, during an economic recession and at a time when security was important. The future was uncertain, but I had to learn to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, on your own intelligence do not rely; In all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6. Also, "This will mean health for your flesh and vigor for your bones." Proverbs 3:7. Turning to scripture helped answer my questions and calm my fears. I later learned that my leap of faith inspired others to start their own businesses.

Initially I was a mobile therapist, taking my treatment table, laptop and equipment to patient's homes. After several months (nine months to be exact), we birthed and moved into our first clinic space that was shared with a friend's massage therapy business. Along the way, my children inspired me, and became my biggest cheerleaders while growing in confidence and faith. My husband soon took over the business end of things; bill paying, bookkeeping, payroll, insurance billing, employee management and painting three different clinic spaces for me, along with helping me move three times. I could not have done it without him! One of my favorite movie quotes is from Field of Dreams: “if you build it, they will come.” I figured if I built it, some of the 20 million women in the country with pelvic pain could find me. They most certainly did and I was flooded with phone calls and inquiries. The business grew rapidly over the first seven years and in that time we have had three different locations, two domain names, and several part-time and full-time staff members. Since then, we have furthered our education to expand our treatment to men and children and added services including Integrative Dry Needling and osteopathic treatment known as visceral mobilization to address scar tissue and adhesions. We added wellness services to keep individuals healthy beyond an "episode of care" and we have been blessed to know and serve so many. Eventually we separated ourselves from insurance companies that did not recognize the value of hands-on treatment, in order to provide a service not offered anywhere else in northeast Ohio. Thank you to those who have entrusted us with their bodies and who continue to inspire me to be the best version of myself. Thank you from the bottom of my heart Thank you from the CORE!

written by Janine Laughlin

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